App Dev Survey Outlines Exec Priorities: Speed, Business Needs, Agile

While the top priority in 2013 remains faster delivery of applications, a new survey shows that a formerly insignificant need has shot up in importance -- developers need apps to better align to business needs.

The Serena Software survey of nearly 100 IT executives at Gartner's recent Application Architecture, Development and Integration (AADI) Summit shows most other development priorities have remained steady over the past several years: Develop apps faster (No. 1), Expand Agile Usage (No. 3) and Increase Innovation (No. 4). But aligning applications more closely with business needs was the lowest-ranked priority in 2011 and 2012; it suddenly rocketed to the No. 2 spot for 2013.

Meanwhile, two previous top priorities -- reducing app development costs and moving apps to the cloud -- took a tumble in the survey.

Miguel Tam, senior product marketing manager at Serena, said in an e-mail interview that a large part of the reason for the movement is a better business outlook. "One of the things we've inferred is that as the economy has begun improving, development has realized that their more internally focused priorities of cost-cutting and efficiency have taken a back seat," he said.

Another area with a lot of publicity in terms of app development is mobile. Thirty-six percent of survey respondents said mobile is important, but that only ranked it a middling sixth in terms of priorities for 2013.

The reduced priority of the cloud, the other hot technology if perception is any indication, isn't due to it becoming less important, according to Tam. "Hype would be the easy answer [for the drop in priority], but I think it's more the fact that the cloud has already permeated many aspects of IT so that it's no longer a priority, but rather a given."

In press release announcing the survey, Tam predicted that the results portend a possible sea change in how business views application development and delivery: "Squeezing out costs has taken a back seat to delivering what the business really needs – the delivery of quality applications. Speed and business alignment will take priority over development costs and efficiency—a first in the world of app dev."

An infographic highlighting survey results can be found here.

About the Author

Keith Ward is the editor in chief of Virtualization & Cloud Review. Follow him on Twitter @VirtReviewKeith.